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Dark Star: Hyper-Drive Edition [Import]

Dan O'Bannon , Dre Pahich , John Carpenter    G (General Audience)   DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Dark Star: Hyper-Drive Edition [Import] + Silent Running (Widescreen)
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Product Description

In the mid twenty-first century, mankind has reached a point in its technological advances to enable colonization of the far reaches of the universe. DARK STAR is a futuristic scout ship traveling far in advance of colony ships. Armed with Exponential Thermosteller Bombs, it prowls the darkest reaches of space on a mission to seek out and destroy unstable planets ahead of the colonist. But there is one obstacle that its crew members did not count on -- one of the ship's thinking and talking bombs is lodged in the bay, threatening to destroy the entire ship and crew! DARK STAR was originally intended to be a 68 minute film. Jack Harris, the Hollywood producer, convinced the filmmakers to shoot 15 minutes of extra footage and he released the expanded version theatrically in 1975 through Bryanston Pictures. To honor the filmmakers wishes, this new DVD will contain both the shorter 1974 Original version and the longer 1975 Theatrical release version. The 2010 Hyperdrive Edition DVD has been sourced from a new 16x9, 35mm transfer, with a further pain-staking, frame-by-frame digital restoration of the video master to produce the best picture ever seen. The soundtrack has also been digitally enhanced and restored to Dolby Digital 5.1.

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Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By J. Lovins TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
VCI Entertainment presents ~ "DARK STAR-HYPERDRIVE EDITION" (1974) (83 min/Color) (Dolby digitally remastered) --- Take for instance director John Carpenter who may be known for his other accomplishments of motion pictures we now realize were good even great --- But this film was the groundbreaking moment that gave us other films from other directors and writers, such as Star Wars --- Now enters co-conspirator Dan O'Bannon, the two filmed this with a zero budget, much like a student project and became a cult classic. --- Not bad for two college chums that started out as a student film and was eventually expanded into a theatrical feature, lucky for us fans, as they say the rest is history.

The copy of the film is quite good and the documentaries are an added plus for all collectors and film enthusiasts --- This new "Hyperdrive" edition is a great update thanks to its abundant special features. Let there be light, indeed --- A must have for your collection of rare and early films in this genre.

Mr. Jim's Ratings:
Image: 4 1/2 Stars
Sound: 4 Stars
Extras: 4 1/2 Stars
Overall: 5 Stars [Both Versions of Dark Star & Bonus Features]

Under the production staff of:
John Carpenter [Director/Screenwriter/Producer]
Dan O'Bannon [Original Story]
J. Stein Kaplan [Associate Producer]
Jack H. Harris [Executive Producer]
John Carpenter [Original Score]
Douglas Knapp [Cinematographer]
Dan O'Bannon [Film Editor]

the cast includes:
Brian Narelle ... Lt. Doolittle
Cal Kuniholm ... Boiler
Dre Pahich ... Talby
Dan O'Bannon ... Sgt. Pinback

BIOS:
1.
Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In the beginning there was darkness Aug. 10 2011
By bernie TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
This movie stands on it' own. Yes you can compare this movie to others and say pieces are a parity of other movies. Yet if you look at the big picture you will see there is no forced dialog or plots to do such parity. This is the real space. The one that grates on your nerves after 20years in space. You learn the politics of procurement, the virtues of independent thinking, and what it is like to have a pet. Very few movies nowadays question existence its self. And along with the profound questions that makes science fiction worth watching, the are great songs and mental images of the sea. Lets cut to the chase this is a funny movie that is over before you are ready.

My cat looks just as round and acts the same way as the alien.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  34 reviews
22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Dark Star-Hyperdrive Edition ... Carpenter & O'Bannon ... VCI Ent. (2010)" Nov. 8 2010
By J. Lovins - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
VCI Entertainment presents ~ "DARK STAR-HYPERDRIVE EDITION" (1974) (83 min/Color) (Dolby digitally remastered) --- Take for instance director John Carpenter who may be known for his other accomplishments of motion pictures we now realize were good even great --- But this film was the groundbreaking moment that gave us other films from other directors and writers, such as Star Wars --- Now enters co-conspirator Dan O'Bannon, the two filmed this with a zero budget, much like a student project and became a cult classic. --- Not bad for two college chums that started out as a student film and was eventually expanded into a theatrical feature, lucky for us fans, as they say the rest is history.

The copy of the film is quite good and the documentaries are an added plus for all collectors and film enthusiasts --- This new "Hyperdrive" edition is a great update thanks to its abundant special features. Let there be light, indeed --- A must have for your collection of rare and early films in this genre.

Mr. Jim's Ratings:
Image: 4 1/2 Stars
Sound: 4 Stars
Extras: 4 1/2 Stars
Overall: 5 Stars [Both Versions of Dark Star & Bonus Features]

Under the production staff of:
John Carpenter [Director/Screenwriter/Producer]
Dan O'Bannon [Original Story]
J. Stein Kaplan [Associate Producer]
Jack H. Harris [Executive Producer]
John Carpenter [Original Score]
Douglas Knapp [Cinematographer]
Dan O'Bannon [Film Editor]

the cast includes:
Brian Narelle ... Lt. Doolittle
Cal Kuniholm ... Boiler
Dre Pahich ... Talby
Dan O'Bannon ... Sgt. Pinback

BIOS:
1. John Carpenter [Director/Producer/Writer/Actor/Composer]
Date of Birth: 16 January 1948 - Carthage, New York
Date of Death: Still Living

2. Dan O'Bannon [Director/Screenwriter]
Date of Birth: 30 September 1946 - St. Louis, Missouri
Date of Death: 17 December 2009 - Santa Monica, California

DISC ONE (1):
SPECIAL FEATURES:
1. Interview with Sci-fi author Alan Dean Foster
2. Audio Commentary by "Super-Fan" Andrew Gilchrist
3. Interview with actor Brian Narelle - "Lt. Doolittle"
4. 3D Guide to the Dark Star Ship
5. Written Intro by Dan O'Bannon
6. Trivia
7. Original Dark Star trailer
8. Both Versions of Dark Star

DISC TWO (2):
BONUS FEATURES:
1. "LET THERE BE LIGHT: THE ODYSSEY OF "DARK STAR" - An all new, feature-length documentary exploring the controversial making of the John Carpenter (HALLOWEEN) and Dan O'Bannon (ALIEN),
2. Exclusive interviews with actor Brian Narelle and cinematographer Doug Knapp

Special footnote, Won and Nominated Awards ~ Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films,(USA) Won Golden Scroll "Best Special Effects" (1976) recipients were Douglas Knapp, Bill Taylor, John Carpenter and Dan O'Bannon --- Nominated for Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America 1976 Nebula Award "Best Dramatic Writing" (1976)
for recipients John Carpenter and Dan O'Bannon --- Hugo Awards (1976) Nominated "Best Dramatic Presentation"

The talking bomb is one of the funniest characters to ever appear in a space movie, rivaling HAL and the robot in Forbidden Planet --- This is a deep and meaningful film inclusive with humor and thought provoking scenes ---There is a look of insight into the human spirit, plus the plight of the isolation --- You won't be disappointed as I highly recommend to fans of a good science fiction storytelling, who won't be hesitant to laugh out loud when the door of humor is opened --- It's an acquired taste, and if you're in the right frame of mind you'll love it --- The country song "Benson Arizona" still gets my funny bone -- good memories still linger.

Total Time: 83 min on DVD ~ VCI Entertainment #8550 ~ (10/26/2010)
19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Weird little oddity, um, odyssey March 29 2011
By Niugui Cilantron - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is one of those cult movies that you'll either love or hate. I vaguely remembered seeing this on TV ages ago, so after reading some of the reviews for the single disc version, I decided to get it. So I'm watching this thing, thinking "Okay, that line was vaguely funny." Snorting a couple times. Then, about 25 minutes in, one of the crew members (O'Bannon, later to write "Alien") has to feed the alien. And it's a beachball with feet. Yeah, I read the reviews, but you have to see this thing to believe it. The thing has personality! This will either make or break the movie for you. You'll either consider it to be so ridiculous that it's hilarious or you'll just think it's stupid.

Yes, they were obviously influenced by "2001: a Space Odyssey." Yes, they may have been influenced by illegal substances (I have no evidence of this, other than the movie). No, they can't act (but they're still funny). Yes, the special effects are very cheap. Still, I found it to be a lot of fun. Can't give it more than 3 stars, though.

Special features: there's a 30 minute interview with Alan Dean Foster who wrote the novelization (!) of this movie. There's a 2 hour (longer than the movie!) documentary covering every possible aspect of the film (more than you want to know, probably, unless you're a film school student.) Various other and sundry doodads. The most important reason to get this version as opposed to the single disc version (I gather from reading those reviews) is that they've cleaned up the picture quality tremendously. If you want this movie, this is the version to get.
21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wait for Blu-Ray Release? Oct. 23 2010
By Arthur R. Valencia - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
This first, major John Carpenter film release, is a fun trip through outer space. Everything is run by computers, even a Bomb. The Bomb goes haywire when damaged and lodges in the bay and starts to 'count down'. The crew tries everything they can to try and stop the count down. This when the fun really starts. Excellent direction, filmplay and acting. I highly recommend this film.

As far as buying this version in standard dvd format, you might want to wait for a Blu-Ray version, if one should come out later. I have the first version in standard format, but this version does have more and better specials. According to the product review, they have upgraded the print for this release. Also, check out the discusions on this topic, going on below.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Good Carpenter First!" Dec 27 2010
By Gregorypwilson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
John Carpenter's 1974 sci-fi comedy features a group
of space explorers dealing with mishaps while on a
mission to rid unstable planets. This 2-disc set
has good picture and sound plus neat extras.
I recommend this good Carpenter first.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Don't give me any of that intelligent life crap, just give me something I can blow up May 11 2012
By Crookedmouth - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Space. The final frontier. This is the voyage of the scout ship Dark Star. Her twenty year mission is to seek out new worlds, and then blow them up. There's a rogue alien in the food locker, the intelligent stellar bomb has something on it's mind and the somewhat less intelligent crew are bored stiff.

Dark Star was written and filmed by John Carpenter and Dan O'Bannon as a student project between 1970 and 1973 on a risible budget of $55K (by contrast, Blazing Saddles, also released in that year, benefitted from a slightly more generous $2.6m).

...and it shows. It REALLY shows. The film seems to have been captured on life-expired Super 8, the lighting appears to be following Dogme Collective rules and the score was (probably) laid down on a Hammond organ. The acting is poor (but not awful) and according to O'Bannon, at least one of the cast was off his face on LSD during filming. The "special effects" (I use that phrase VERY loosely) would make George Lucas weep like a girl with many of the props apparently having been scavenged from the dumpster behind the film studio and some of the scenes obviously having been filmed in the sound stage's boiler room. Consequently, the whole thing looks, feels and sounds a little like a 1980's Belgian porno on it's 7th generation VHS rerecord and, taken at face value, this is a film that you would probably return with a letter asking for your money back plus compensation.

In truth however, Dark Star is actually a mother-lode for the modern sci-fi genre. Consider this: Dan O'Bannon adapted the screenplay, called it "Alien" and saw it turned into a cinematographic icon (it's interesting to know that there is a direct line of descent between Dark Star and the most recent sci-fi offering from Hollywood, "Prometheus"). Set designer Ron Cobb went on to work on both Alien and Star Wars and John Carpenter is one of the most respected and prolific sci-fi/horror film-makers in Hollywood. It's fascinating to watch Dark Star with this in mind, spotting the genesis of concepts and styles that are now so well developed that they are almost cliches, and that alone makes the film a worthwhile purchase. It actually LOOKS like an Alien fan-film, done for laughs rather than screams.

And if it's rough in other ways? Well, to me it doesn't look like the crew were simply fulfilling a film school project on a tiny budget, it looks like they were trying to make the best film they could with no money. The props and effects are cheap but effective, imaginative and done with care, the plot is a corker (it would almost stand a big budet remake) and the humour (it IS a comedy/satire) is spot on, if a little sophomoric.

In this two-disc "Hyperdrive Edition" of the film you get the theatre release which has some 40 minutes of extra footage and the original, student-short as Carpenter and O'Bannon first produced it. For my money, the longer version just about wins, but it's interesting to compare the two cuts. On top of that is a retrospective "making of" documentary and various other shorts, including interviews with some of the cast and crew. These interviews are a little "meh", but the documentary is much more interesting.

In the final analysis, despite its faults (or perhaps because of them) Dark Star is a ground- breaking film with a big heart. It may not ever have been Oscar material but it deserves a cherished place on the shelf of anyone who loves modern sci-fi.

Doolittle: Hello, Bomb? Are you with me? Are you willing to entertain a few concepts?
Bomb #20: I am always receptive to suggestions.
Doolittle: Fine. Think about this then. How do you know you exist?
Bomb #20: Well, of course I exist.
Doolittle: But how do you know you exist?
Bomb #20: It is intuitively obvious.
Doolittle: Intuition is no proof. What concrete evidence do you have that you exist?
Bomb #20: Intriguing. I wish I had more time to discuss this.
Doolittle: Why don't you have more time?
Bomb #20: Because I must explode in 75 seconds.
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